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Are Leading Papers of Better Quality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Tom Coupé
  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Abdul Ghafar Noury

Abstract

Leading papers in a journal’s issue attract, on average, more citations than those that follow. It is, however, difficult to assess whether they are of better quality (as is often suggested), or whether this happens just because they appear first in an issue. We make use of a natural experiment that was carried out by a journal in which papers are randomly ordered in some issues, while this order is not random in others. We show that leading papers in randomly ordered issues also attract more citations, which casts some doubt on whether, in general, leading papers are of higher quality.
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Suggested Citation

  • Tom Coupé & Victor Ginsburgh & Abdul Ghafar Noury, 2009. "Are Leading Papers of Better Quality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/99299, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/99299
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sofronis Clerides & Panos Pashardes & Alexandros Polycarpou, 2011. "Peer Review vs Metric‐based Assessment: Testing for Bias in the RAE Ratings of UK Economics Departments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(311), pages 565-583, July.
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    1. Lead papers are not particularly better
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-03-09 17:21:00

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    Cited by:

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    3. Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo & Sapio, Alessandro, 2013. "Do collaborations enhance the high-quality output of scientific institutions? Evidence from the Italian Research Assessment Exercise," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 25-36.
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    6. Georg, Co-Pierre & Opolot, Daniel & Rose, Michael, 2019. "Discussants," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203575, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Sultan Orazbayev, 2017. "Diversity and collaboration in Economics," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2017-4, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    8. Harris, Mark & Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris, 2019. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on the Causes of Position Effects in Individual Choice," MPRA Paper 94072, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni & Alessandro Sapio, 2012. "Do collaborations enhance the high-quality output of scientific institutions? Evidence from the Italian Research Assessment Exercise (2001-2003)," Discussion Papers 4_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    10. Feng Guo & Chao Ma & Qingling Shi & Qingqing Zong, 2018. "Succinct effect or informative effect: the relationship between title length and the number of citations," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1531-1539, September.
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    12. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Can We Test for Bias in Scientific Peer-Review?," IZA Discussion Papers 3665, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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